Misconceptions of Substance Addiction Disorder

Updated: Mar 26, 2021

WHAT IS IT?

Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs. When you're addicted, you may continue using the drug despite the harm it causes.

Drug addiction can start with experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some people, the drug use becomes more frequent. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction begins with exposure to prescribed medications, or receiving medications from a friend or relative who has been prescribed the medication. The risk of addiction and how fast you become addicted varies by drug. Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers, have a higher risk and cause addiction more quickly than others.





SYMPTOMS

Addiction can happen one of two ways, through curiosity and experimentation or peer pressure. However, once the addiction starts, that is where the real problem begins. Addiction can start without the intentions of wanting to use substances regularly. However, in most cases, once the body has gotten a glimpse of what it feels like to be under the influence of drugs, people often won't stop. Symptoms can range from Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — daily or even several times a day or having intense urges for the drug that block out any other thoughts. The body does get used to constant foreign substances being in it so, Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect. Money is a big factor as well.

Many people spend money on the drug, even though you can't afford it. This tends to affect work responsibilities, and people begin hurting people in their own lives by being

overwhelmed by the use of the drug. Getting in trouble with the law is another major factor of drug abuse. People may drive or steal while under the influence which could pose long term effects in relationship to future obligations and potential opportunities.



MISCONCEPTIONS

1. Once you start you will never be able to stop.

Although the chance of addiction is extremely high, it ultimately is dependent on the mindset of the user. There are numerous stories of people who have been addicts for decades, but something in them clicks and they get clean.


2. Substance abuse disorder doesn't need to be treated as long as it is extreme.

This is absolutely false. If you see someone struggling to get under control, no matter how severe or minute their addiction may seem, please get them help if they refuse to get it for themselves.


When we see someone who is struggling, our first initial reaction may be to stay away. However, it’s really important that we get them the necessary treatment and support to potentially overcome this because of how serious it can get.

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